I gave myself a gigantic Thanksgiving present this year, and I didn’t read a WORD about the Sabres for the 48 hours surrounding the Bruins game. No radio, no twitter, no blogs, no newspaper. I literally have no clue how Sabres fans/media responded to the game. I have no idea if people are irate, or satisfied, or what, but personally, I’m sort of fine with the Bruins game.
The game was definitely exciting. The loss was really disappointing, but I think you have to give a lot of credit to the Bruins. That is a seriously good hockey team right now. In my opinion, the Sabres played well enough on Wednesday to beat most teams most of the time.
On one hand, I thought the vibe in the arena at the beginning of the game was pretty gross (the fans wanted blood, and they weren’t afraid to ask for it), on the other hand, it was a very engaged crowd, and that’s always fun. Going into the game, I was a little worried that the crowd would be hostile towards the Sabres, but I think the Sabres’ physical play early in the game won over all but the most determined-to-be-angry people. (Just as an aside, “daaaaang, yo,” to the people who brought the “Shanahan Declares Open Season” sign and then held it up underneath the flags so that every player was basically staring right at it during the anthems. Dang. That was hardcore.)
And while the Sabres lost the game, I hope the vengeance-howlers feel satisfied (enough) with their “pound of flesh.” (Just as an aside: From now on, the only person allowed to use the phrase “pound of flesh” without an enthusiastic eye roll from me is William Shakespeare.)
I thought Goose and Lucic’s fight was stupid and pointless. But… I suppose that fight had to happen? Something about The Code, blah blah blah? Good for Gaustad for taking one for the team, I guess. On a personal note, I was glad they got it out of the way early. After they got the staged fight out of the way (and Goose wasn’t killed. I’ll admit, I was sort of scared Goose would be killed), I was able to relax and enjoy the game.
Here are a few little observations:
- Hockey (the part where they skate around, hitting each other and shooting the puck) is a great sport. I hate the fighting, but I love the hitting, and the Sabres looked good in that department. Please feel free to hit like that more often, Sabres.
- I was surprisingly pleased to see Jochen Hecht out there. I was surprised because I can’t think of even one time this year when I’ve thought to myself, “You know what the Sabres could really use right now? Some Jochen Hecht.” And yet, I found his presence very reassuring. I thought he looked good. Welcome back, Yo-yo!
- Speaking about Hecht, one of my favorite plays of the game was when he kind of awkwardly slid into Tim Thomas in near-slow-motion. The people in our section good-naturedly reacted as if Jochen had just delivered a thundering hit, and it was a nice moment of comic relief.
- T.J. Brennan didn’t really grab my attention (except for his hilariously-skivvy mustache and his first ever NHL goal), which is really the best case scenario for a rookie defenseman.
- I’m not sure if it was just my mood (and my desire to stay emotionally even-keel), but I really found myself marveling at the Bruins a few times during the game. I hate those guys passionately, but they’re really good at hockey. Especially that Chara guy.
- I don’t feel too concerned about this yet, but the Sabres REALLY need to stop giving up two goal leads. The Bruins are probably the best team in the league right now, but still. The third period was icky. I wonder if too much energy was burned earlier in the game on “being physical,” because the Sabres just looked completely gassed for the third period. Giving up the third Bruins goal felt like an inevitability.
- It’s interesting to note that with all the pregame talk about the importance of “responding physically,” it was the Sabres’ inability to lock it down with a two goal lead that did them in.
- Because of my self-imposed internet exile, I had no idea that Kaleta was out, and incredibly, I didn’t notice it until the middle of the 2nd period. I’ve always been a bit lukewarm on Patty’s game, but I was surprised to realize that apparently I forget all about him as soon as he’s out of my direct line of vision.
- Gerbe is so fun.
- I feel like the Sabres had a scouting report on Thomas in the shootout that just didn’t pay off. They all went in to the net slow and then tried to get all fancy with 45,000 moves before a weak little backhanded attempt. Private to Vanek and Pominville: you guys are just supposed to slap it in. (I haven’t seen any replays of the shootout, so my recollection of how everyone shot the puck might be wrong. But regardless, in the arena I was definitely like, “WTF, you guys. No turkey for ANY of you. Except Enroth. He can have turkey.”)
In the end, the Sabres responded physically… but they still lost. So, I dunno. I’m just glad that game is behind us. Hopefully now the games will return to the normal level of intensity for mid-November. I’m curious to see how we view this game at the end of the season once we have the ability to put this Boston game in the proper perspective.
You know what’s really going to hit the spot tonight? Some leftover turkey and a comparatively low-key game against the mighty Columbus Blue Jackets.